Read 1 Thessalonians 5:12-28
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION
Run through Paul’s checklist for your own life and then note where you might need to make some changes.
Our reading today presents a checklist for a healthy church. Paul writes about the role of church leaders; relationships between members; attitude to circumstances; spiritual discernment; and sanctification. He can put all these issues before the young church because of the confidence that he has in God’s faithful work in them (23,24). That assurance puts all his instructions in the context of a lively relationship with God in Jesus rather than a list of laws and regulations.
Paul addresses the leaders and members of the church together. He expects the members to appreciate the hard work of the leaders who play a vital role in the sanctification of the members (12,13a). Nothing will be achieved if leaders and members do not live at peace with one another (13b). Being admonished is not pleasant, but if it leads us into greater godliness of living, it is worth it. Most of us have blind spots in Christian behavior that need to be pointed out. Both leaders and ordinary believers need to be aware of the variety of situations they are dealing with. The idle, the weak and the timid need different forms of encouragement, and not everyone will respond immediately to the ministry. It is a good idea to have on your desk the saying, “Be patient with me; God hasn’t finished with me yet!”
The process of sanctification is one of discernment. We need to know how to respond as Christians to all life’s circumstances and as wise people to all spiritualities that we encounter. The goal is continually set before us that we should avoid all evil because the Holy Spirit is working to make and keep us blameless for the coming of the Lord. God is active to make us what he wants us to be, and we hold onto all the goodness he brings us.
Pray about those changes you need to make in your life. Also, run Paul’s yardstick over your church and note things that need to be changed. Pray about these, too.